In the early 1990s she photographed racist crimes scenes in Germany, victims and perpetrators, and uninvolved bystanders. Returning to the theme in 2006, she reduced the visual content to nothing more than the places where the crimes had been commited, combined her images with meticulously researched texts about the events themselves and the way they were dealt with afterwards politically, by the courts, and in the media.
In the early hours of Easter Sunday 2006 a black German man in Potsdam was injured so seriously with a broken skull that doctors had to put him into an artificial coma for several weeks. The initial investigations gave reason to suspect a racist background to the attack. Shortly beforehand the victim had called his wife, whose voicemail had recorded the words "dirty nigger". The Federal Public Prosecutor took charge of the investigation on the grounds that the racist motive could potentially "affect the internal security of the country". One of the two suspects arrested was charged with grievous bodily harm, the other with failure to lend assistance. Police discovered right-wing extremist music in the car used by the suspects. Both the accused denied being at the scene of the attack at the time, and two experts failed to identify the recorded voice beyond reasonable doubt as the voice of the accused. Because the charges were largely based on this recording, the suspects were released from remand on May 23th. Three days later the Federal Public Prosecutor also passed responsibility for the investigation back to the Potsdam state prosecutor, because the racist statements made by the suspects were not directly connected with the crime. The victim, who was joint plaintiff in the case, joined the other parties in calling for an acquittal, but continued to maintain his conviction that this had been a racist crime. The accused were found not guilty.
Eva Leitolf "Deutsche Bilder - eine Spurensuche" ( German images – Looking for evidence )
In Deutsche Bilder - eine Spurensuche German photographer Eva Leitolf turns her attention to racist crimes in Germany and the ways they are discussed in society. In the early 1990s she photographed crime scenes, victims and perpetrators, and uninvolved bystanders. Returning to the theme in 2006, she reduced the visual content to nothing more than the places where the crimes had been commited, combined her images with meticulously researched texts about the events themselves and the way they were dealt with afterwards politically, by the courts, and in the media. Conceived as a long-term study, this group of works produced between 1992 and 2008 challenges the way society deals with racist violence and in the process tests the bounds and possibilities of what can be said visually.
Eva Leitolf, born 1966 in Würzburg, lives and works in Munich and in the Bayerische Wald.
Appearing parallel to the exhibition is the artist’s book of the same title at SNOECK. Special price in the exhibition 24 Euro.
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Press Preview with the artist: 24.07.2008, 17.00
Opening: 24.07.2008, 19.00
Image: Neighbourhood Bielefeld-Senne | 1994 © Eva Leitolf
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